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Stanford University in Berlin

Krupp Internships / Praktika

35 Jahre: 1982-2017 - Experience

Eric Yoon

Krupp and Stanford in Berlin offered me the opportunity to study, live and work in Berlin and Meissen a couple years after unification.  Although that was more than a decade ago, the memories still remain, because the experiences I had in those places changed me a great deal.

I met an amazing array of people who, by and large, welcomed me with open arms.  In Meissen, a small town in the heart of eastern Germany, few things must have looked stranger than the sight of a Korean American kid like myself marching around the winding, medieval streets, grunting barely intelligible German.  Nevertheless, all kinds of people – young and old, employed and unemployed, those hopeful about unification and those fearful of its consequences – took me on tours, filled me with bratwurst and beer, introduced me to their families, and shared their stories with me.  For that I shall always be thankful.    

I still draw upon the lessons of those days.  What did I learn?  That the impact of historical events, like the fall of the Iron Curtain, have a colossal, complex impact on individual lives that can never be fully characterized by a slogan or a sound bite.  That the most average looking person on the street can have an amazing story to tell and redefine for you the very essence of what it means to be kind or generous.  And that so much of who we are and what we have accomplished depends not only on what decisions we make, but also on what kind of conditions (for example, what side of the Iron Curtain) we happen to be born under. 

My time in Germany with Stanford inspired, moved and humbled me.  I will never forget it.  

Eric Yoon
Stanford in Berlin student in 1992
intern with Europa-Zentrum Meißen e.V. in spring 1993.
Patent attorney, Beyer, Weaver and Thomas, Oakland.

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Brigid Doherty

Beginning in April 1986, I spent a number of months as a student of painting at the Hochschule der Künste (HdK; now the Universität der Künste) in Berlin, where I pursued my own work under the guidance of the Professor Hans-Jürgen (Hajo) Diehl among a group of talented and sophisticated Meisterschüler in his studio. The idea of putting one of the inaugural Krupp internships for non-scientists to this especially creative use came from Karen Kramer. I was simply in the right place at the right time: working towards completing degrees in Studio Art and Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford in California while the expansion of the Krupp internship program was underway at Stanford in Berlin. I had met Karen when she was a visiting faculty member in the Program in Structured Liberal Education at Stanford, and I suppose she sensed that Berlin might be a good place for me to broaden my knowledge of modern literature and art while also doing my own practical work under new and intense conditions in the studio. At the HdK, the challenge of learning to communicate in German while also trying to keep up (or at least come to terms) with a group of ambitious and technically advanced art students was exciting and sometimes overwhelming.

My experience in Berlin did not just expand my intellectual interests, give me a new language in which to speak and think differently than I ever had done before, deepen my knowledge of modern culture, and provide me with a new and challenging environment in which to try my hand at painting –  it changed the course of my life. After graduating from Stanford in 1987 I decided to try to bring together my interests in the humanities and studio art by studying for a PhD in art history, with a focus on German modernism. I have since made modern and contemporary German art and literature, and the culture of the 1920s and the 1960s/1970s in particular, the focus of my work as an academic. It is clear to me that my fields of expertise as a scholar are connected to things I was first exposed to in studying literature and art history and German language with Karen Kramer, Franz Neckenig, and Maria Biege at Stanford in Berlin and painting with Diehl at the HdK. Diehl is well known as a so-called kritischer or häßlicher Realist, and he was one of the founders of the “Section Großgörschen 35,” a collective of artists who, beginning in the mid-1960s, insisted, in their art itself as in the public statements that accompanied its exhibition, that painting could still be seen as a medium for intellectually rigorous and politically informed criticism of the conditions of contemporary life. In this Diehl and his cohort established a connection to German painters of the 1920s, especially the so-called Veristen, including George Grosz and Otto Dix, artists whose work has been the subject of some of my research as an art historian.

Every time I teach a class on the culture of the Weimar period, memories of Berlin in the mid-1980s return with special vividness, and I can hardly say how much I enjoy the feeling that my connection to the material I teach is grounded in something more than scholarly interest. And so even though I did not follow a career path to becoming a painter, the Krupp internship paved the way for what I do now, and it did so as no other program could have done – by supporting interests and abilities I was already able to demonstrate while opening the way for me to discover entirely new, though in the end not unrelated ones.

Brigid Doherty
Stanford in Berlin student in winter1986
intern at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin in Spring 1986.
Associate Professor of German and Art & Archaeology, Princeton University.

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Netithorn Netty Praditsarn

Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of the Krupp internship program!  Looking back, I remain thankful that the Krupp internship allowed a Stanford international student from Thailand like myself to experience German working culture and ethics at its best.  It was certainly beyond my dreams, and indeed, the internship opportunity was the reason attracting me to apply for the Stanford-in-Berlin program in the first place.  Through the Krupp internship program, I had a chance to work for Professor Dr. Udo E. Simonis at the Wissenschaftzentrum Berlin. 

The superb lessons on environmental politics and economics with Professor Simonis led me to complete the senior honors thesis on Thailand’s shrimp farming industry a year later.  Now that I have joined Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a career diplomat, the German work discipline and organizational skills I picked up from Professor Simonis absolutely become handy.  One technique I learned was to note on the back of each business card the time and place of receiving as well as a brief description of the person.  Doing so helped me remember diplomats I have met around the world. 

Professor Simonis also reminded me to lead a balanced life.  I had never seen anyone as industrious and efficient as him, but at the same time, he treasured family.  “It is important to set your priorities straight,” he said to me one day.  I never quite understood him until my mom’s visit to Berlin.  During her visit, he was the one nudging me to leave work and be with my mom.  He said, “You’ve got a more important thing waiting for you at home.”  It was then when I realized that it was important to keep priority in your whole life, not just work, straight.

I know that I can never thank the Krupp foundation enough for their generosity.  To show my appreciation, I have consistently told both Germans and others I have met, I was lucky to have had a chance to work in Germany through the Krupp program, and I learned a lot.

Netithorn Netty Praditsarn
Stanford in Berlin student in Fall and Winter of 1996-97
intern at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin in Spring 1997
Second Secretary, Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of Thailand

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Andrea Everett

In the summer of 2002, I interned at the Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development, in the department that coordinates German policy toward the World Bank and the IMF.  This was a fascinating opportunity to pursue my interest in political and economic development, and to learn about a side of German politics that many people don't see.  Working for the German government in this capacity was a very unique opportunity for an American college student, and one I would never have had the opportunity to do without the Krupp program.  My time in Germany with Stanford and the Krupp program helped convince me that I wanted to return, and I spent the year after graduation on a Fulbright in Berlin, pursuing my interests in European politics and Transatlantic relations that had developed during my first stay in Germany.  My time in Berlin with Stanford and in the internship program turned out to be some of my most memorable and influential college experiences, and were particularly important in impacting the things I have chosen to study since then, both as an undergrad at Stanford and now as a graduate student.

Andrea Everett (Political Science, Economics), Stanford in Berlin student in Spring 2002
intern at the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), Bonn, in Summer 2002
PhD Candidate at the Department of Politics, Princeton University.

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Tobin Cooley

The opportunity to live and work within the German culture was a life-changing experience. As a result of participating in the Krupp internship, I gained an almost visceral understanding of the German Zeitgeist, especially in light of being present just after the fall of the Berlin wall. The confidence I gained in my ability to thrive in a foreign culture has proven extremely valuable to me personally and professionally. In fact, just yesterday, as the facilitator for a conference on technology, I was able to introduce a German professor (in German, shocking him), and make a strong connection by being able to discuss my experience living there.  I will be visiting him later this month in Stuttgart, to implement his recent research into one of my key projects.  Without the experience I had in the Krupp internship program, I would not have been able to make this type of connection.

Tobin Cooley (Engineering), Stanford in Berlin student in 1990
intern at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe in Winter 1991
Founder und CEO of Listen Acoustics, Portland, Oregon.

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Todd Pope

Reflecting on how the Krupp Internship Program has influenced my life and career, I would certainly call it a formative experience, one that paved the path for a fair bit of serendipity. A prime example of this: as a young American participating in the Krupp Internship Program 30 years ago, I would not have imagined that I would be writing these lines from Tuttlingen, the town that has been my home now for the past three years.
Studying in Berlin prepared me well for my internship at Hewlett-Packard’s Sales and Marketing headquarters in Bad Homburg. It gave me confidence to seek meaningful and practical business experience and to leverage my learning to make measurable contributions through my internship activities. My hosts at HP were exceptionally accommodating and included me in work ranging from market research to software testing to technical service. I had the good fortune to be able to support a major product rollout as well as to negotiate an extension to my internship that allowed me to remain at HP through the summer and to participate in a big product launch event at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt.

After an immensely rewarding experience with my Krupp Internship, I returned to California to finish my studies. During this time I kept in close contact with other Krupp interns, with German friends and I mentored young Germans who came to Stanford for the summer session. Upon graduating in 1987, in another stroke of serendipity, I applied for and was offered the position of Internship Coordinator for the Krupp Program. So with a great deal of gratitude I moved back to West Berlin to continue my German odyssey. During my tenure as Internship Coordinator, the Krupp Program continued its expansion, which by then included internship opportunities for students in the Humanities and Social Sciences, not just those in Engineering or Physical Sciences. In two years we placed around 80 Stanford students into Krupp Internships and during that time I developed lifelong friendships with Germans, with Stanford employees and finally with fellow Krupp interns.

During the bulk of my professional career, there has always been a German connection.  My first engineering job in the US was with Aesculap, a German company.  From there, I joined a startup company co-founded by an American and two former German colleagues.  We built that business into a success and sold it to a leading US Fortune 100 company. I then embarked on a second course of study and enrolled at the University of California in a full-time MBA program. Not surprisingly, I completed a portion of my MBA studies at Heinrich-Heine-Universität in Düsseldorf, during which time I lived in Mülheim an der Ruhr with one of my dear friends, whom I had met during my Krupp Internship at Hewlett-Packard.

The path that led to my current position at Aesculap in Southern Germany has been anything but conventional.  I have moved back and forth several times between my Heimat in California and the various places in Germany that I have also called home. Through these experiences I have learned that the lifestyle of an ex-patriot is a highly personal decision and often a tough choice.  But it has its rewards for sure.  And one thing is certain, I would not now enjoy the benefits of being fully integrated into German society if it were not for the experiences I had as a Krupp intern and for the collective years of living in Germany thereafter. 

My colleagues now tease me that I have become a true Schwabe, which I take this as a high compliment.  For now that label fits me, and regardless of what the future holds, I know I will always have a deep connection to Germany.

Todd Pope
Stanford in Berlin student in 1984
Intern at Hewlett-Packard, Bad Homburg, in winter and spring of 1985
Vice President R&D – Design Capability & Service Innovation, B.Braun Aesculap AG, Tuttlingen

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R. Judge Gregg

Two decades and two Stanford degrees later, I still consider my time at Stanford in Berlin and in the Krupp Internship Program as the most important professional experience of my educational career.  I arrived in Berlin as an environmental engineer-in-training and left convinced that I wanted to do international environmental policy work. I also left Berlin a far more capable person.

The academic experience at Stanford in Berlin was exceptional.  I had a chance to study and interact with one of the world’s leading ecologists in a small-class setting and, because he was the visiting professor, in many other settings during the quarter.  While I enjoyed the science he was teaching, I realized that I was particularly interested in the policy work that he was doing.

I stayed in Berlin for my Krupp internship and worked for Projektträger Biologie, Energie, Ökologie (PT BEO), an organization that managed federal environmental research funds.  This work gave me an insight into how Germany organizes its environmental research funding and an opportunity to compare and contrast that system the United States’ approach.  Among other tasks, my supervisors asked me to look into the likely environmental policies of the new Clinton/Gore administration so that they could evaluate how those policies may impact their work. Learning about the research that PT BEO was overseeing at the same time that I was studying the policies of a new U.S. administration starkly contrasted the work of an environmental scientist with that of a policy specialist.  I found the latter far more interesting.  I also came to better appreciate the global nature of environmental problem-solving and that different countries approached these issues in different ways. 

In some subtle way, living and working in Berlin better prepared me to deal with unexpected professional challenges.  This was brought home in a lunch discussion with other former Krupp interns several years after graduation.  After the obligatory reminiscing about Haus Cramer, favorite Imbiss food and the best place to get a Milchkaffee, someone commented that, although he wasn’t sure exactly how, the year had changed him for the better.  We compared notes and found that we all came back more focused and much better able to deal with unforeseen situations. 

I think these newfound capabilities may have been the result of eight months of handling little things that, upon reflection, were not so little.  My internship was the first time that I had worked in an office on a regular, full-time schedule.  I had a regular pay-check.  And rent. And bills. And doctors’ visits. And a multi-modal, cross-city commute. And office politics. And none of it was in my native language.  Thus, when a new challenge comes up at work even today, I believe I still draw on a bit of the confidence that I developed while facing the challenges of working in Berlin.

Upon return, I changed my major from an engineering degree to an environmental science degree with a policy focus, and later attended law school. Since law school, I have worked for environmental non-governmental organizations, in private practice, for the federal government, and in academia.  In each of those capacities, I have been able to focus at least part of my work on the international environmental policy issues that I left Berlin wanting to do.

Dr. R. Judge Gregg
Stanford in Berlin student in 1992
Intern at Projektträger Biologie, Energie, Ökologie in Berlin in winter of 1993
Trial Attorney, Law and Policy Section, U.S. Department of Justice

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Nadia Elghobashi-Meinhardt

As a chemistry major, I was deliberating whether to attend graduate school or medical school after completing my bachelor degree. I thought an internship in the medical field would help me decide, so I chose to participate in the internship program supported by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation. When my quarter at the Berlin center ended in June 1998, my request to carry out an internship in a hospital in Bavaria had been granted and I was to report to the Universitäts Klinik in Würzburg. I would be staying in the nurses’ quarters (Schwesternwohheim).

Throughout the summer, I shadowed doctors, learning how to draw blood, watching surgeries, observing a range of medical treatments, and was even present during live births. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I also could confidently say after that summer Krupp internship: medical school was not for me.

I returned to Stanford in the fall of 1998 to complete my final year of undergraduate education, majoring in chemistry and minoring in German. I began doctoral studies at UC Irvine. However, I had fallen in love with Berlin and wanted to return to the German capital. Luckily I discovered that the DAAD was offering one-year grants to carry out research at a host university in Germany. At the same time, the chemistry department of the Freie Universität Berlin was creating a bilingual master program. I applied for a DAAD fellowship and was awarded a grant to carry out research in the chemistry department of the FU Berlin. I defered graduate school at UC Irvine for one year and returned to Berlin in October of 1999, moving in again with the family that had hosted me the previous year.

During that year, I attended a course titled „Quantum chemistry on the computer“. I was enthralled by the subject which would continue to fascinate me for many years. I returned to Berlin in October 2000, this time with no financial support, and enrolled in the bilingual master program in the chemistry department. In January 2002 I defended my master thesis in quantum dynamics and immediately continued my research, beginning the PhD program at the FU Berlin. I was lucky that I ate lunch in the university’s mensa each day, because sometime during the middle of the PhD program, I met my future husband (a German civil engineer) at the mensa of the FU Berlin.

In October 2005 I defended my PhD thesis in quantum dynamics with magna cum laude. I have remained in academic research since 2005, completing two postdocs, one in Berlin and one in Heidelberg. In 2009 I was awarded funding from the Volkswagen Stiftung to carry out a research project in theoretical biophysics, which I am conducting at the FU Berlin. I still live in Berlin-Zehlendorf and I regularly visit the family who hosted me in 1998; we remain close friends.

When I look back to the events leading to today, I am grateful to the people and institutions that supported my professional career over the past 17 years. I thank Stanford and the Krupp foundation for introducing me to professional life in Germany and for laying the foundation—both professionally and personally—for  what has become the basis of my adult life. Our eldest daughter attends the John F. Kennedy bilingual elementary school in Berlin-Zehlendorf. When I listen to her singing German and English songs each day, it is like watching the next generation of German-American bridges being constructed in real time. It is a privilege for me to say that the foundation for those bridges was the Stanford overseas program that I participated in during the spring and summer of 1998.

Dr. Nadia Elghobashi-Meinhardt
Stanford in Berlin student in spring of 1998
Intern at the Chirurgische Universitätsklinik und Poliklinik, Würzburg, in summer of 1998
Junior Group leader, Institut für Chemie und Biochemie, Freie Universität Berlin

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Sonal Pandya

My Krupp-funded internship was in the Banking, Financial Markets, and Regulation division of Deutsche Bank Research. In the summer of 1998 the introduction of the Euro was imminent and Asia was in economic turmoil. My primary task was to write a report for Deutsche Bank’s corporate clients on the implications of the Euro for Asia. I also attended a wide variety of lectures and events across the bank.

The internship has influenced my career in ways that I could not have imagined at the time. I am a tenured professor of political economy at the University of Virginia, and my specialty is international economic policy. The internship remains my only related private sector experience. One experience during the internship has directly shaped my teaching. I observed a meeting of DB Research’s mock Bundesbank, a standing body that met to forecast outcomes of upcoming meetings of the real Bundesbank. Years later I adapted this tool for undergraduate teaching. Students simulate international trade negotiations in which each person has a defined role for which they essentially must derive from general principles that person’s incentives. Students deliberate over a final mock agreement, and then study specific cases with direct analogs to the simulation. In 2011 I met my former co-worker, Steffen Kern, at a conference sponsored by the German Marshall Fund. Kern, currently the chief economist of the European Securities and Market Authority, recalled our time together and offered some excellent advice on my on-going research.

My internship has been the foundation for an on-going relationship with Germany. Immediately after graduating from Stanford I returned to Germany on a one-year fellowship from the Bundestag. I took courses at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and completed a four-month internship with a member of the Bundestag. I have returned to Berlin as a tourist (2007) and for academic conferences sponsored by Freie Universität Berlin/German Marshall Fund (2011) and the Hertie School of Governance/ Bundesfinanzministerium (2014).

During each of these subsequent visits to Berlin I marveled at how much the city has changed.  Although I am still conversant in German others immediately switch to English upon hearing my accent. This rarely happened in 1998.

Sonal Pandya, Ph.D.
Stanford in Berlin student in spring of 1998
Intern at Deutsche Bank Research, Frankfurt a. M., in summer of 1998
Associate Professor, Department of Politics, University of Virginia